These are organisations I like and most of them I’ve worked with:
I first met Fiona Joyce from Blue Rubicon in the early 1990s when she was working with the plastics industry. More recently, as a director of Blue Rubicon, she has asked me to be involved in a number of projects. This includes introducing me to Morrisons and working with British Gas on Generation Green.
Earthcare are experts in reducing the environmental impact of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps. They have both the technical expertise and knowledge on climate-change friendly coolants and energy efficiency. And Nick Cox, who runs the organisation, is a fellow judge in the Chilling Facts campaign with the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
“Michael is one of the most passionate advocates of sustainable architecture I have ever met”says Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, founder of Grimshaw architectural practice, where Michael worked for 10 years. Whilst there he was a central part of the team behind the world famous Eden Project and when he left in 2007, he set up Exploration Architecture.In describing Exploration Architecture, Michael says “We draw inspiration from nature to devise solutions that produce radical increases in resource efficiency – creating more from less”.As well as lecturing on this theme, Michael has come up with some truly innovative and inspiring projects. One of these is a desalination plant, which uses one fifth of the energy of a conventional system, whilst at the same time creating the setting for a Water Theatre. This project was inspired by Namibian fog-basking beetle.Another of Michael’s projects is ‘The Eco-Rainforest’ which demonstrates how to use waste going to landfill site to create a large and productive greenhouse as a visitor attraction – and make it hugely profitable too.The commercial opportunities from Michael’s innovative, eco-system approach to sustainability is a common theme, as is his focus on using energy from the sun. And this is demonstrated in the Sahara Forest Project, which he is currently working on. The idea is to produce large quantities of renewable energy, food and water, whilst at the same time reversing desertification, using concentrated solar power to produce zero carbon electricity.Michael laments the fact that in the carbon age it’s been far too easy to burn fossil fuels and use an excessive amount of resources. He says that we’ve lost the ability to be really ingenious. I think that Michael is the exception. His ideas are full of ingenuity and they inspire real hope for the future.
Food Climate Research Network
The Food Climate Research Network brings together organizations and people researching the food system and how it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. They have an excellent email information service with updates on initiatives relating to food and climate change.
In 2011 I went to give a presentation to the team at Futerra. It made me reflect on the early years of SustainAbility – the organisations are remarkably similar. And the most surprising similarity of all was that we both came up with the same core objectives. When we set up SustainAbility, in the late 1980s, John Elkington and I described these as ‘Making Money, Making a Difference, and Enjoying ourselves whilst we were doing it’. We agreed that like a three-legged stool – if any one of these didn’t work, the whole ship floundered. At Futerra they have been more succinct with their goals of ‘Joy, Impact and Profit’.
Global Action Plan
I’ve known Trewin Restorick, CEO of Global Action Plan, for over 20 years. The charity leads the way in running programmes for reducing, energy, carbon emissions and waste, working with schools, community organisations and households. And in 2011 they won the Ashden Award for sustainable energy in relation to their employee behaviour change programmes.
I’ve worked with Giles Gibbons, the founder director of Good Business on a number of projects. The company describes itself as a thought leader in society and offers research and strategic consultancy, helping clients manage risk and exploit opportunities presented by environmental and social issues. A key belief is that corporate values need to be embedded in the brand, rather than considered to be an add on. Giles has also founded the Sustainable Restaurant Association.
Ogilvy & Mather’s global sustainability practice was named one of the world’s top agencies offering genuine expertise in sustainability communications. Since 2010 I’ve worked with them on an ad hoc basis – including advising their New York office on clients involved in the Earth Summit.
I met Jonathan Ford, one of the founder directors of Pearl Fisher at a luxury goods conference, where we were both speaking. His leading edge design agency works with brands like Green & Black Chocolate, Innocent Drinks and Waitrose. I’ve worked with them on packaging issues – but have got to know Jonathan as a fellow Trustee of Haller. I recruited him to join the board and he’s been a tremendous asset!
Set up in 2008, Project Dirt is an independent online network, aiming to connect green minded people – through doing real projects in their neighbourhood. In 2010 and 2011 I was a member of the judging panel for their Timberland Earthkeepers Competition. The winners received a financial contribution to their projects, which ranged from bee-keeping to fruit growing and from river cleaning to local markets. The over-riding them is that lots of people are involved on a voluntary basis.
Sustainable Restaurant Association
I often recommend that restaurants sign up to The SRA. The organisation helps restaurants become more sustainable and provides information to diners on energy, water and waste issues, as well as where food comes from and even about community engagement too. The SRA’s most recent campaign – Too Good to Waste – is to encourage the provision of doggy bags. They’ve worked out that the average restaurant produces 21 tonnes of food waste a year, which is about half a kilo per customer.
A bank that believes profit doesn’t need to be at the expense of the world’s most pressing environmental problems. They finance organisations from organic food and farming business to renewable energy enterprises and recycling companies. I’ve spoken at a Triodos AGM and worked with their MD, Charles Middleton, when he was chair of Haller between xxx and 2011.